Boycott Nestlé To Save Babies’ LivesOctober 31, 2011 No Comments
This week is Boycott Nestlé week.
A lot of recent feminist chatter has been devoted to a debate about whether formula feeding is an equal choice for moms, with most commentators defending the right of mothers to pick formula feeding over breastfeeding.
The debate so far has focused entirely on western mothers though, and effectively ignored the situation of many moms and babies in developing countries where formula feeding can be outright dangerous and where milk companies (of which Nestlé is the most prolific and largest, but is by no means the only one) aggressively market first milks in contravention of international advertising rules.
According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, the lives of 1.5 million babies could be saved worldwide if breastfeeding practices were improved and the level of artificial feeding reduced.
This is because mothers of formula-fed babies in developing countries are often forced to mix the powdered formula with dirty water and lack facilities to properly sterilize bottles. This leaves their babies susceptible to developing diarrhea. And diarrhea kills babies in developing countries.
Families also often wind up not being able to afford to constantly buy the formula powder and end up giving bottles of ordinary powdered milk or even sugary water to babies. But this doesn’t contain enough nutrients and babies become malnourished and die. As breast milk is free and sterile when taken straight from the breast these problems don’t arise for breastfed babies.
The tagline of the Baby Milk Action campaign is “protecting breastfeeding, protecting babies fed on formula.” The Nestlé boycott is all about protecting babies, however they are fed, something the formula companies with Nestlé at the forefront seem to care very little about.
So when you are next in the supermarket coffee aisle and you feel your hand edging towards the Nescafe just move it a little further along the shelf and you will have taken one small step to help protect babies worldwide. Fairtrade tastes better anyway.
For a list of Nestlé products see here.
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